Why Traditional Offices Are On the Decline
More and more businesses are moving away from traditional offices and building remote workforces. Is this a viable solution for your company? Read on to learn how you can leverage remote opportunities to decrease your overhead and heighten productivity.
Cheaper and More Efficient
Over the past decade, U.S. companies have begun to move away from traditional office setups. Gallup reports that 43 percent of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely outside of a traditional office in 2016. This trend is expected to continue, as businesses look to transcend geographic boundaries in search of talent, while lowering operational costs.
Although a traditional brick-and-mortar presence can make a company appear more professional, it can also be costly. What's more, it doesn't always translate into a highly productive work environment. According a recent survey by the employee engagement firm TINYpulse, just over 90 percent of remote workers feel they are more productive when they are working outside a traditional office. This same research showed that remote workers also tend to feel more valued, while enjoying higher satisfaction from their work.
Other studies appear to back up the notion that remote workers are more productive than their traditional office counterparts. According to a case study appearing in the Harvard Business Review, the travel website Ctrip saw a considerable uptick in worker performance when it allowed a handful of employees to telecommute, outside of a traditional office, for nine months. The company was also able to save about $1,900 per employee during this same period, since it had less need for furniture and space.
Making it Work
While they can bring big benefits, remote workforces can also come with certain difficulties. You can sidestep a lot of these issues by making sure to engage your remote workers on a consistent basis. According to the TINYpulse survey, just over half of responding remote employees said they have contact with a supervisor either once per day or multiple times per day. On the other hand, about 34 percent said they only connect with supervisors once per week, while 10 percent said they only hear from their managers once per month.
While communication is always a key part of any work relationship, it's especially critical in a telecommuting arrangement. To avoid confusion and isolation, it's important to maintain regular contact with your remote workers. Some days, a quick email exchange might be enough. Other days, you may need to pick up the phone or sit down for a lengthy teleconference. Whatever the case, make sure you keep in touch with your employees, so they will feel like a part of your organization.
To effectively manage a remote workforce, you must also measure productivity. Without oversight, you will need to set clear expectations for what you expect and when you expect it. There are programs that allow remote workers to clock in and out using the computer; however, it may be more practical to simply monitor work flow, while setting firm but fair deadlines.